Conrad Bain at the 2003 TVLand Awards ceremony.
|Birthname:||Conrad Stafford Bain|
|Born:||February 4, 1923|
|Birthplace:||Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada|
|Died:||January 14, 2013(aged 89)|
|Deathplace:||Livermore, California, U.S. (Stroke)|
|Also known for:||role of Phillip Drummond on NBC-TV's Diff'rent Strokes|
|Spouse(s):||Monica Sloan, 1945-2009, her death|
|Related to:||actor Bonar Bain (twin brother, deceased)|
|Episodes appeared in:||121 in series, Seasons 1-6|
|Character played:||Arthur Harmon|
Conrad Stafford Bain (February 24, 1923–January 14, 2013) played the part of Arthur Harmon on the CBS-TV sitcom Maude, appearing in a total of 121 of the 141 episodes aired during its network run. Canadian-American born, Conrad, asides from his role as Arthur on Maude, is best known for his role on the NBC-TV sitcom Diff'rent Strokes. He played the role of Ralph Norton in the Disney film C.H.O.M.P.S.
Life & career
Though he is usually sized up as an erudite gentleman, advice-spouting father or uptight, pompous neighbor, the acting talents of Conrad Bain were best utilized on stage and on TV. Born in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, Conrad Stafford Bain was a twin son (the other was named Bonar) born to Stafford Harrison Bain, a wholesaler, and Jean Agnes Bain (née Young). Conrad enjoyed Canadian sports growing up (ice hockey, speed skating), but picked up an interest in acting while in high school.
Electing to train at Alberta's Banff School of Fine Arts after graduating, Bain met Monica Marjorie Sloan, an artist, while there. His acting pursuit was interrupted by World War II, when he subsequently joined the Canadian army. Picking up where he left off after his discharge, he studied at New York's American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He also married Ms. Sloan in 1945 and became a naturalized U.S. citizen the following year. The couple went on to have three children: Jennifer, Mark and Kent.
Making his stage debut in a Connecticut production of "Dear Ruth" in 1947, Bain also appeared in "Jack and the Beanstalk" and a tour of "The Barretts of Wimpole Street" before making his off-Broadway debut in a 1956 Circle-in-the-Square revival of Eugene O'Neill's "The Iceman Cometh," a production that made a star out of Jason Robards. Following an inauspicious Broadway bow in "Sixth Finger in a Five Finger Glove", which closed after only one day, he joined the Stratford (Ontario) Shakespeare Festival for their 1958 season, appearing in "A Winter's Tale", "Much Ado About Nothing" and "Henry IV, Part I".
Conrad eventually found an "in" with daytime TV drama, which included a recurring role on the daytime ABC-TV horror/drama soap series Dark Shadows (1966) as an innkeeper, and a part on The Edge of Night (1956) in 1970. He broke completely away, however, from his trademark dramatics when the 49-year-old actor was "discovered" for prime-time TV by Norman Lear and offered a supporting role opposite Bea Arthur and Bill Macy in Norman Lear's landmark, liberally sliced comedy series Maude (1972). Bain was cast as Rue McClanahan's stuffy, conservative doctor/husband, Arthur Harmon, who usually was at political odds with free-wheeling feminist Maude Findlay.
The role moved Bain into the prime-time TV comedy character ranks. After the lengthy run of Maude (1972-78), he was given the green light by Lear to move into his own comedy series with Diff'rent Strokes (1978) as the wealthy father of a girl and adoptive father of two African-American boys. While young Gary Coleman may have stolen the show, the good-humored Bain remained a strong center and voice of reason until the show's demise in 1986. Three was not a charm when Bain went into a third new comedy series, Mr. President (1987), with Bain as a loyal aide-de-camp to "President" George C. Scott. The show, created not by Lear but by Johnny Carson, lasted only 24 episodes.
Other than a stage role in "Ancestral Voices" in 2000, Conrad Bain turned for a time to screen-writing but later comfortably retired to the Brentwood area of Los Angeles. Moving to a Livermore, California, retirement home in 2008, wife Monica died a year later. Bain passed away there quietly of natural causes on January 14, 2013, less than a month short of his 90th birthday. His twin brother, Bonar Bain (who also guest starred on Maude in the role of Arnold Harmon, Arthur's brother, died in 2005.